Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly agreed to a settlement they filed against news outlet Splash News and Photo Agency for taking photos of their country retreat in the Cotswolds, which Harry rented precisely for the level of privacy it provided.
The outlet allegedly flew over the couple’s home in a helicopter and took photos of the home’s living room, dining areas, and bedroom sometime in January, Fox News reported.
Lawyers speaking on behalf of Harry and Meghan said that the couple no longer felt safe living in the residence that is located in a picturesque area of England.
“The property had been chosen by The Duke for himself and his wife given the high level of privacy it afforded given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland away from any areas to which photographers have access,” attorney Gerrard Tyrrell told the court, Fox reported.
“The helicopter flew over the home at a low altitude allowing Splash to take photographs of and into the living area and dining area of the home and directly into the bedroom,” he explained, adding that the publication of the photos “very seriously undermined the safety and security” of the couple and the home to the point that they are “no longer able to live at the property.”
The photos were published by The Times newspaper and other online websites, the BBC reported.
After the publication of the photos, the couple subsequently moved to Frogmore Cottage in April, just a few weeks before Meghan gave birth to baby Archie.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said Harry accepted “substantial damages” from Splash News and Picture Agency, but it did not reveal how much the agency paid.
The outlet also offered an apology for any distress it may have caused the royal couple. In a statement, Splash News said that the incident was an “error of judgment” and claimed similar situations would not happen in the future.
Tyrell also said that the news outlet would not use any aerial means to take photos or videos of the duke’s private home in the future, which would violate privacy rights, per the BBC.
Prince Harry settles privacy and data protection claims against a news agency that hovered over his home in a helicopter, taking photos directly into his living room and bedroom. Harry accepted damages and an apology from Splash News and Picture Agency. https://t.co/0n6CZCeSdS
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 16, 2019
According to its website, Splash News is a global content agency whose more than 4,000 contributors across the globe that work 24 hours a day to deliver the news as fast as it happens. The company claims that its photographers take more than 150,000 photos a day.